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Science File | IN BRIEF

Brain Imaging Reveals When People Are Lying

November 19, 2001

Polygraph tests are not admissible in court because they are too unreliable, but Pennsylvania researchers may have taken the first step toward finding a lie detector that works. They reported last week at a San Diego meeting of the Society for Neuroscience that different parts of the brain are activated when people are lying than when they are telling the truth.

Using a technique called functional PET imaging, Dr. Daniel Langleben and his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania were able to determine when each of 18 individuals was lying under test conditions. In essence, the study showed that it requires more work by the brain to lie than to tell the truth.

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Compiled by Times medical writer Thomas H. Maugh II

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